Brisbane: Birthday boy speedster Peter Siddle took six wickets including a hat-trick to skittle out England for a moderate 260 in the first innings of the first Ashes Test on Thursday.
In reply, Australia were 25 for no loss at stumps on Day 1 with openers Shane Watson and Simon Katich remaining unbeaten on 9 and 15 respectively.
Siddle gave England a rude reality check during the post-tea session with a superb hat-trick which rocked England batting after his double blow in the post-lunch session.
Ian Bell, along with Alistair Cook, was the only saving grace for England with a fighting 76 which helped England cross 250.
Siddle snapped up opener Alistair Cook (67), wicket-keeper Matthew Prior (0) and Stuart Broad (0) in three consecutive deliveries to inflict a huge blow to the England’s Ashes hopes early in the series. When Broad took the long walk back to the pavilion, England were tottering at 197/7 with only Ian Bell holding the fort.
Despite losing four wickets for 125, in-form Ian Bell and opener Alistair Cook forged an important partnership to lift England from the very difficult position to 172/4 at tea.
Cook anchored the England innings hitting a fine half-century and, with Bell, consolidated the England innings.
Siddle struck twice during the post-lunch session to reduce England to 125/4. He first got the wicket of Kevin Pietersen, who was playing well for his 43 and then removed Paul Collingwood for just 4.
Both the batsmen fell off two fantastic out-swingers from Siddle that flew to the slip cordon.
England captain Andrew Strauss was caught out for a duck from the third ball of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba but the tourists recovered to reach lunch at 86-2.
Opener Strauss, who had won the toss and chosen to bat, left the first ball from Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, defended the second but cut the third straight to Mike Hussey at gully after just three minutes at the crease.
Jonathan Trott replaced him and hit a sharp 29 before following his captain to the dressing room but Alastair Cook (29 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (23 not out) came through some tricky moments to reach the first break looking comfortable.
England had hoped to make a good start at the Gabba, where Australia have not lost a Test since 1988, as they began their quest to win their first Ashes series in Australia since 1986-87.
Memories of Steve Harmison`s first delivery to second slip in the first match of the ill-fated 2006-07 series have long haunted the English and Strauss`s early dismissal delighted a big crowd packed into the Gabba.
Trott, however, took the game to the Australian pace attack of Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson on a slowish pitch and, after he was bowled through the gate by a full delivery from Shane Watson, Pietersen took up the challenge.